American Wirehair Cat Breed(Characteristics, Temperament, Cat Care)


The American Wirehair is another uniquely American cat breed that began as a result of a spontaneous genetic mutation on a farm in upstate New York. In 1966 one of a litter of six American Shorthair kittens exhibited an unusual sparse and wiry red and white coat. The aberrant male kitten, named Adam, was bred with other American Shorthair cats. It soon became obvious that the wirehair gene was dominant as litters sired by Adam were half Wirehair kittens. An analysis of Adam’s coat by geneticists showed that this was a previously unknown coat type. A selective breeding program was started with the only out-crosses being to carefully selected American Shorthair cats. Wirehairs were first recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) in 1967 and accepted for championship competition in 1978. There are sufficient numbers of Wirehairs now to indicate that they have some significant differences, apart from the coat, to distinguish the breed from the American Shorthair. Breeding programs are now trying to preserve these differences. All American Wirehairs can be traced back to Adam.

Cat size Medium/Large
Exercise Active – requires some exercise
Grooming Minimal grooming – combing once per week
Temperament Quiet and somewhat independent

American Wirehair Cat Characteristics


The American Wirehair is a medium to large sized cat breed with a unique wire-haired coat. Male Wirehairs weigh from 11 to 15 pounds and females from 8 to 12 pounds which is similar to the Shorthair. Recently smaller Wirehairs have been exhibited at a number of championship shows. Like the Shorthair the Wirehair is a working cat with a muscular body that exhibits power and agility. Kittens take 3 or 4 years to mature into adults. The body is slightly longer than tall with a large head that is slightly longer than wide. The bright, clear eyes are large and wide, spaced fairly far apart and are shaped like half an almond cut lengthwise. The unusual medium-length coat is springy, dense and resilient in texture and coarse and hard to the touch. This effect is due to the guard hairs being crimped and twisted and hooked at the ends. The underlying down hairs are also twisted.

Color Varieties

Since out-crosses were done to the American Shorthair, the CFA recognizes all their different colors and patterns. American Wirehair varieties include: white, cream, black, red, blue, tortoiseshell, calico, blue-cream, chinchilla, silver, shell cameo, black smoke, blue smoke, cameo smoke, bicolor; and classical or mackerel tabby in red, blue, brown, cream, cameo and silver. Like the Shorthair the classic silver tabby is very popular

Temperament Of American Wirehair Cat


It is difficult to generalize on the temperament of the American Wirehair breed because the numbers are still small and we get individual owners comments on their particular cat. However, the personality seems to be similar to the American Shorthair with the caveat that this is a more active breed and can be more impatient with children. American Wirehairs are affectionate and playful but have an independent streak. The Wire seems to adapt well to existing pets and children. This easy-going and affectionate cat is people-oriented but doesn’t need constant attention. The Wirehair likes being by your side but doesn’t want to be in your lap. The Wirehair does like to be let outside into the garden. The Wirehair is sociable and easily trained but will enjoy playing alone.

Cat Care

American Wirehairs are very healthy and can live from 15 to 20 years. The wire coat is easy to groom and a once per week light combing with a steel comb will suffice. Be careful not to damage the wirehair coat when grooming.


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